Despite the Sun’s sometimes patchy play down the stretch, their 92-88 loss to the Detroit Shock – and subsequently, the two teams’ rivalry – lived up to the hype on national television Tuesday. For the fourth time this year – all Shock wins – the game was decided by five or fewer points, and for the most part, it was an exciting, well-played game.
Both teams shot at or around 50 percent, they each got career nights from a player in Deanna Nolan (franchise-record 36 points) and Lindsay Whalen (career-high 33 points) and with the crowd into it, it had a great atmosphere.
The Sun weren’t terrible in the game’s waning moments – they only finished with 10 turnovers and shot 60 percent in the fourth quarter alone. But they didn’t do the things needed to win, more specifically make every possession count and get the key stop.
They had been doing those things (and everything else) throughout their six-game win streak.
“It was a great game for TV,” said Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer. “The Indiana game was played at Indiana (an 89-80 Detroit win) was the same way – both teams making shots, going up and down the floor. It was a high-scoring game and really fun to watch.”
It was actually the highest-scoring game in regulation the Sun have been involved in this season. Here are some other statistical highlights that didn’t make it into today’s stories (game story, notebook):
(1) Jamie Carey played despite being questionable with an ankle injury. She hit a three-pointer, her 20th of the season compared to just four two-point field goals.
(2) The Sun made 36 field goals, topping 30 for the seventh game in a row.
(3) Whalen became the fifth player in franchise history to score 30-plus points and the third this season, following Asjha Jones (31 points on May 31) and Katie Douglas (30 on June 22). Shannon Johnson – who started for the Shock Tuesday – holds the club record for 35 points in a contest, set back in 2002 in a triple-overtime game in Cleveland.
Some more notes:
(1) Evina Maltsi was held to four points in 29 minutes of action Tuesday but grabbed five rebounds in place of Nykesha Sales in the starting lineup. The Greece native has played well when called upon to start, but didn’t quite have her normal stroke Tuesday.
For more on Maltsi, check out her Web site, http://www.evanthia-maltsi.com/, dug up somewhere on the Web by Bulletin senior writer, Brian Girasoli.
(2) For all the talk of Nolan being the league’s most athletic and exciting player, she proved that to be true Tuesday. Just in her elevation on her jump shots you can see how skilled she is, and with her quickness and somewhat lanky frame, she may be the toughest guard to defend in the league.
Of Detroit’s 36 field goals on Tuesday, she had 16 of them – or roughly 45 percent of her team’s made shots – while only having to sink 2-of-4 foul shots.